Dercksen, T. T., Widmann, A., Schröger, E., & Wetzel, N. (in press). Omission related brain responses reflect specific and unspecific action-effect couplings. Neuroimage.

Omission related brain responses reflect specific and unspecific action-effect couplings

When an auditory stimulus is predicted but unexpectedly omitted, an omission response can be observed in the EEG. This endogenous response to the absence of a stimulus demonstrates the important role of prediction in perception. SanMiguel and colleagues (2013a) showed that in order to observe an omission response, a specific prediction concerning the identity of an upcoming stimulus is necessary. They used button presses coupled to either a single sound (predictable identity), or a random sound (unpredictable identity). In the event-related potentials, a sequence of omission responses consisting of oN1, oN2, and oP3 was observed in the single condition but not in the random condition. Given the importance of omission studies to understand the role of prediction in perception, we replicated this study. We enhanced statistical power by doubling the sample size and adjusting data pre-processing. We applied temporal principal component analysis and replication Bayes statistics. Results in the single sound condition were successfully replicated. Principal component analysis additionally revealed attenuated oN1 and oP3 omission responses in the random sound condition. These results suggest the existence of both specific and unspecific predictions along the sound processing hierarchy, where precision weighting possibly influences the strength of prediction error. Results are discussed in the framework of predictive coding and are congruent to everyday life, where uncertainty often requires broader or more general predictions.


Cognitive and Biological Psychology

University of Leipzig
Faculty of Life Sciences
Institute of Psychology
Neumarkt 9-19
D-04109 Leipzig


Dagmar Schrödl
Phone: +49 341 97-39570
Email: dagmar dot schroedl at uni-leipzig dot de

Fax: +49 341 97-39271